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DasBoot
2 May 2002, 03:11 PM
I preordered the Revised Core Rulebook a few days ago and I am now getting ready to begin a new campaign. Although a problem has come along, half the people playing have ordered their own copies of the book. While I think it is a good thing for the PCs to know how to play, I am worried they're going to start questioning my rulings and or deciding they are able to do things based solely on their interpretations of the rules. I am fearing that my authority as the GM is going to be undermined by a few know-it-all PCs. Really my question is if you all have had a situation similar to mine, and what happened. I bet I'm just overreacting, but its better to be safe than sorry I suppose.

Donovan Morningfire
2 May 2002, 03:25 PM
Here's a something I do with every new RPG rulebook I purchase:

Look through the Gamemaster's Section, and write down the page number, column, and paragraph that has, in whatever form, the following:

The Gamemaster is the final authority on the rules.

That's the fastest and easiet way to cut any wanna-be rules lawyers down before they get out of hand.

How can they argue it, since it's right in the rules? :D

Chris Curtis
2 May 2002, 03:52 PM
Yeah, Donovan is right on the money here. As always, the GM can do whatever s/he wants to do in their own universe. No amount of player whining should have any effect on that.

However, you do have a legitimate concern if you were planning on running an adventure (or something with secrets, or whatever) from a book that your players are purchasing (this, of course, could apply to other books besides the Core Rulebook). In a case like this, you should ask your players not to read any of the relevant parts that might contain information that they shouldn't know.

If you're lucky you've got responsible, understanding players and they'll heed your request to not spoil the adventure/whatever. After all, how fun is it if you already know everything that will happen?

If, OTOH, your players don't heed your warning, then they'll simply ruin what's so fun about RPing in the first place: the unknown and how their characters react to it.

Nova Spice
2 May 2002, 05:06 PM
I have this EXACT problem with one of my PCs. He has the Core Rulebook and ever since he's had that, he has stopped the game, explaining to me, your humble GM, how I should be doing it, or that I'm wrong. It really burns me up, generally I refrain from bashing something, but he does it constantly believing that he knows everthing there is to know about Game Mechanics......he told me a week or two ago that he was going to buy the Revised Rulebook too.....and when I told him I was the GM and had the final say, he would tell me that I can't do that or that I "shouldn't." Who the hell does he think he is telling me, THE GAMEMASTER, I shouldn't do this or that!:mad: :mad:
I've decided to ignore him when he interrupts the game with his technicalities......and you should follow Donovan's advice......keep that page tabbed for quick use..show it to the PC, then return to the game....ignoring any whiny complaints from the player.
Take it from someone who knows how it feels to be hounded by his know-it-all PCs.......do everything in your power to prevent them from questioning you.....there is a popular saying.. "Give 'em an inch, and they'll take a mile."

Hope that helps...;)

P.S. Its alright if they buy supplements and such...I have a pair of my PCs (different from the know-it-all that have Starships of the Galaxy). Try to encourage them to wait to buy the RCRB though.....

Grimace
2 May 2002, 05:21 PM
I agree with what Donovan said. The main thing to always remember is that what you say (as far as rule interpretations) GOES. Don't debate it with your players, especially during a game session.

I always prep my players if I get a new person into a game that is heavy on rules and who I might think will prove problematic. I tell them that during the game, if I say they can't do something, even if it's in the rules, then they can't do it. I inform them that I don't know everything in the rules verbatim, so if something comes along and causes a rules question, I'll make a decision based on the circumstances at the moment, and I'll carry on. If they don't agree, they can discuss it with me AFTER the session. This just makes gaming easier for both you and your players, as they'll know where you sit BEFORE you start gaming.

As far as your players getting adventures and spoiling the whole plot be reading when they shouldn't be, I always try to do the following:

I alter several parts of a published adventure, just so they don't recognize things and are caught off guard. I had one player that I suspected of reading an adventure I was running, so I started changing things. When the first "changed" thing came up, a confused look crossed his face...it was hilarious!:D
So alter some things in an adventure if you suspect a player reading into the adventure. Change to a different planet, make a key artifact something else entirely (maybe even a person or droid), change the motives of some NPCs. Anything to keep those busybodies off-balance.

The main thing, overall, is to STAY IN CHARGE. Whether it's a ruling on what a person can or can't do, or the plot line of an adventure...don't let any rules lawyers or adventure readers get you flustered. Some players love to fluster GMs, so always try to stay ahead of their thinking.

Alun
2 May 2002, 05:39 PM
Many years ago when i made my own screens (before any decent screen were published) i would have two larger statements on the side facing the PCs.

Rule 1 The GM is always right!

Rule 2 If this is not the case refer back to Rule 1.

I guess, since i don't much use screen these days, large posters hung on the wall behind me with the same on it would work.

Also i usullay knows the rules much better than my players, even if they have read all the books more than once.

If everything else, raising a screen announcing that the player is being attacked by half the imperial fleet (back when WEG said that there was 25 mil ISDs at large) and saying they got the initiative and the first roll is a crit on the player who was being a pain.
It works wonders:p

Ghost In The Holocron
2 May 2002, 07:41 PM
I've been playing with more or less the same core of blokes for the past decade or so, and we've all developed an implicit understanding that the GM's call overrides anything. As the GM I've been pretty fair about "pulling rank" as well.

However, since the d20 system came out -- first we got D&D 3rd Ed and now the group's happily playing SWRPG d20 -- I've had to make very clear to all my players that the rules aren't worth bantha poodoo unless I say so. Not that I'm targeting the evils of d20 -- it's a great well thought out system and it's because of its clear and precise mechanics that all GMs should take charge more since it's easier for players to use the "rules" to bully their way through the game.

As people have pointed out, it's easy -- just be firmly in charge. When problems about that arise, just explain things to the player in a firm but calm manner.

Alun
2 May 2002, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by Ghost In The Holocron
I've been playing with more or less the same core of blokes for the past decade or so, and we've all developed an implicit understanding that the GM's call overrides anything. As the GM I've been pretty fair about "pulling rank" as well.

However, since the d20 system came out -- first we got D&D 3rd Ed and now the group's happily playing SWRPG d20 -- I've had to make very clear to all my players that the rules aren't worth bantha poodoo unless I say so. Not that I'm targeting the evils of d20 -- it's a great well thought out system and it's because of its clear and precise mechanics that all GMs should take charge more since it's easier for players to use the "rules" to bully their way through the game.

As people have pointed out, it's easy -- just be firmly in charge. When problems about that arise, just explain things to the player in a firm but calm manner.

And if calm doesn't work.

Kill, maim, burn and plunder does wonders (hey that almost rhymes).

VixenofVenus
3 May 2002, 08:34 AM
I have had this happen in D&D 3rd Ed. games I have run ... because I seriously don't know the system as well as some of my players ... but amongst our group, most of them think I am the best GM even though I have less experience than some other guys in the group (who always think they know more than me ... and do when it comes to the rules) ... but the guys who love my style of GMing love it because I do things by the seat of my pants.

I came up with a slick and fast system for vehicle combat about six months ago that alot of ppl here on the HoloNet liked as well ... but my players ADORE IT. Maybe not because of how the system worked, but because in my games ... when a player asks ... "Can I jump my speeder bike off this bridge and onto that AT-ST, but I want to jump clear and roll away before it hits?"

What do I say ... "Uhh ... sure, roll a Pilot check!" ... and then when he rolls good (but not good enough) ... I come up with a creative answer to what happened. I didn't really know what the DC's are in the book under Pilot, but I knew he needed better than a 25 to do that without minor scrapes and bruises ... (I think he ended up rolling like a 15-17) ... so what did we have ... a one-legged wookiee who was bleeding to death FAST!

His leg was severed between the AT-ST roof and the side of the Speeder Bike when he tried to jump off in mid-air ... but he did destroy the AT-ST (and by the way, this wasn't the actual player in control, but another player he had entrusted with his character ... which made it all the funnier).



So in the end ... RULES ARE FOR FOOLS ... screw the damn rules ... whatever makes the game MORE FUN is what is important ... and if a player points out a rule that contradicts what you were thinking or said ... and you don't like it ... say "Nah, that rule doesn't apply due to the RPG Prime Directive" ... and they'll ask, "What's the RPG Prime Directive?"

You answer .... "I shall not interfere with another person's natural progression through evolution or interfere with a perfectly good session of kick-butt RPGing because of that damn person's sucky opinion ... so shuddap and have fun!"

VixenofVenus
3 May 2002, 08:50 AM
Here ... this should be a nice funny viewing about how a GM uses his own rules over the rules of any damn book ... http://www.hoodyhoo.com/kodt07.htm

Burner
3 May 2002, 09:19 AM
Something you might want to do is create a House Rules document that has all your rulings listed out on it. This includes your rulings that trump the core rules. In your case I would also put Donovan's suggested page number in your house rules list.

I started one that has my acceptable means of rolling stats, chosing races and classes. It also lists my choices on the era we play in and how those choices affect the game.

Sherman Shipyards
3 May 2002, 09:20 AM
Donovan Morningfire come up with a very good suggestion. The phrase that I always goes like this.

Remember, There is nothing that arguing with the GM won't aggravate.

I find it works wonders.

wolverine
3 May 2002, 09:49 AM
I find that using and putting out, house rules helps to quell this stuff a lot when i GM. Take a game of ad&d 2nd edition about 3 years ago. Had 2 players who just brought the Combat and tactics and spells and magic expansions for skills and powers. I told them to leave the books with me to read before next session, and i would get back to them. Next week, i put it out, that of the spells in S&M, i was only using 2 specific spells, nothing else, and from C&T only the rules for weapon mastery. THis nipped anything else from the books in the butt.

Tony J Case, Super Genius
3 May 2002, 01:37 PM
99 percent of the time, I agree with you guys - the GM has the final word, period and end of story. I also agree that any legitimate concerns should be held until after the game to discuss - that seems very straight forward to me.

However, if the GM is about to screw up and do serious, unrevocable damage, like kill a character because of accidentally dealing too much damage or something equally horrible - in that kind of instance, I think that disagreeing with the GM is a good thing.

Tyne Shady
20 May 2002, 09:49 AM
I've been a GM for about 15 years, and I adopt the same tactic in any RP system at the begining or if a new player joins.
Get out the main rules, show them to the player, throw them to one side and announce that what you say goes.
It does have a small effect at first, but as players get to know you their is always an element of 'my last GM did this, or in the book it says...' I find it best to listen to them, and some times even consider what they are saying. In the past I've argued a power one of my own characters had was too powerfull and begged the GM to tone it down before it became a 'popular' skill with the rest of the group and causing too much overkill and a power climb in the campaign.

Basicly what I'm saying I suppose is that its ok to listen and even some times take onboard what your players want to discuss, somtimes its not always self serving (more players will correct the damaged THEIR blaster does than when the GM rolls too few dice for the bad guys) but in the end let them know your the boss.

In SWRPG I know basicly squat, I don't GM d20, althout I do play with pretty much the best GM that credits can buy (about that 10% xp bonus?? :) ) and I think knowing the system limits your character. I let the GM know my intentions and roll the dice if needed. Got to admit though I'm starting to learn more about the character skills/feats stuff now as I play more, but I don't think that interferes too much.
I've played with people who won't try X Y or Z because you need to roll a 31+ etc to achive it. I'd prefere the GM to say (as he does) ' you think diving under the blast door out of the explosion while shooting the space trooper John Woo style may be tricky, but if ya wanna try...' more often than not, it works out, even if the roll doesn't make it the dramiatic and cinamatic effects are still great.... 'you slide along the deck but the blast door slams before your reach it... caught in the explosion you take X damage and the space trooper levels his blaster at you...
Much better than.. I'll shoot, his defence is X so I need Y.. ohh I rolled a 26 I hit I do 12 dam etc etc. Less a player knows the better IMHO.

GreatHornedDragon
20 May 2002, 11:31 PM
I pretty much agree with the suggestions above. I'm fortunate enough to have a group that doesn't question me too much.

As suggested above, asking the players not to read relevant sections of certain rulebooks is usually the best way to steer them clear. I have asked all of my players not to read the Rebellion Era sourcebook because it contains so much information that could be in the campaign (its in the Rebellion Era). But there are often people who just can't help themselves, or who want to know more and to argue with you. These players are definitely best handled outside of the session.

I think one of the main qualities of a GM, though, is that he or she can admit when they did something that shouldn't have been done or when they were wrong in a situation (when its not them altering the rules to make the game more fun, which I agree should be done to make things more entertaining where suitable).

In my previous campaign I made some mistakes about how rolls went, and they affected one of the characters in the campaign who was a slicer. I took him aside outside of session and talked to him about it, saying that my previous ruling was wrong and that it would be corrected in this way, etc (it made things harder for him). I believe its this kind of honesty that can earn you the players' respect as a GM.

I like the suggestion above to alter printed campaign material in minor ways to keep those who may have read it on their toes. I'm relatively new to GMing (been going nearly a year on and off), and this kind of information is invaluable.

Dwight.